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Sep 15, 2010

FA grappling with £60 million shortfall in TV income

The Football Association are having to cover a £60 million shortfall from the collapse of Setanta and £17 million costs of moving from Soho Square to Wembley, it has been revealed.

The FA published their accounts which reveals a £3 million overall loss in 2009 - but better than the £12 million loss in 2008. Although the FA's turnover has increased, the collapse of Setanta has left the body needing to cover a £60 million shortfall in television income in the 2008-12 period.

The move to Wembley will also incur losses of almost £17 million as there was a 10-year lease on Soho Square, but in the long term the FA should save on costs. The FA have also put into effect a major cost-saving exercise including a pay freeze.

FA chief executive Alex Horne said: "2009 was a difficult year for the FA Group as it was for the UK economy as a whole. The headline was the loss of our domestic broadcast partner, Setanta, as well as one of our overseas broadcasting partners, Gateway.

"We also struggled to find a replacement tenant for our former offices in Soho Square having moved to Wembley in August 2009 and made a significant provision for that situation. But we have persevered and we made new broadcast deals with ITV, ESPN and Supersport and have now exited the Soho Square lease.''

The FA's turnover was up £52 million on 2008 to £314 million, allowing a record £103 million to be invested back into football, £16 million more than the previous year with half of that going to the grass-roots.

Other points of interest in the FA accounts show that staff costs rose from £30.1 million to £34.7 million with the increase almost totally accounted for by the difference in England manager Fabio Capello's salary compared to that of his predecessor Steve McClaren. Capello's annual salary is £6 million while McClaren was on £2.5 million a year.

FA chiefs are still in talks with several companies about succeeding Nationwide as their main sponsors and hope to have a deal done by December. Nationwide had offered £20 million over four years but that was rejected.

The planned National Football Centre at Burton still has a financial shortfall of £8 million-10 million but the FA are still hopeful of raising that from a hotel and executive housing scheme on the site. The accounts also showed the FA last year spent £8 million on England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Meanwhile, Wembley's finances also appear to be improving with losses down from £31.1 million to £15.6 million. Wembley chairman David Bernstein said: "We are not detached from the wider economy and clearly economic conditions are challenging. So although we are travelling in the right direction to break even by 2014 this will be a considerable achievement.''

The national stadium hosted 38 major events - concerts and matches - and Horne said the trial with the new Desso pitch, which uses artificial fibres intermingled with real grass, will end the problems with the playing surface that have plagued the stadium.

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